People in Illinois will soon be allowed to pack heat in public legally.
The state passed a concealed carry law in July 2013 following a court's decision that said a ban on concealed weapons was unconstitutional. Representatives with the Illinois State Police say authorities will start accepting applications on Sunday.
Officials with the state police say they predict nearly half-a-million gun owners will apply for these licenses. Local officials will have the authority to object to an application.
Illinois State Police say it's finally ready for the Sunday launch date. Troopers recommend that applicants be armed with all the information and documentation they'll need to apply.
David Kemp founded Tombstone, a gun range and training center in Marion, where he teaches an Illinois State Police approved concealed carry course. Kemp said when dealing with guns, he wants to be sure the class is confusion free.
"That's been hard so far with so many different rules and so many different changes," Kemp explained. "We're hoping this January 5th marks a line in the sand where we finally have things settled out, to some extent, and we can really start to move forward from here."
While Kemp said he's already had nearly 400 students come through his doors, he expects future enrollment will be even stronger.
"A lot of people have been waiting around for everything to get finalized," he said. "Then they say they'll jump in once that happens."
Kemp said while some were disheartened by changing rules, others had a distaste for the wait.
"When we first started concealed carry classes, our students would come in and tell us its taken them 4 months to get a FOID card," Kemp said. "Now, the last few classes we've done, students are telling us 3 to 4 weeks at the most to get a fid card in."
ISP officials say they've now got the FOID applications down to a fraction of what it once was. And, Kemp said, if that's true the Illinois Concealed Carry law is back on target.
"We hope they're finally close to getting it in place so that people can actually start to get their applications in and processed," Kemp said. "I assume there will still be some bugs to work out. We've been patiently waiting and everyone else has been patiently waiting- were excited that we're at least close to where we need to be."
Residents interested in Illinois Conceal Carry can apply on Sunday.
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